Thursday, April 28, 2016

Motifs: Hexagons

Traditionally, there is no 'X' in Japanese, in that there are no native words that would require that specific letter for Romanization (unlike Chinese, where we can find words like 'xiao,' depending on the method used to convert Chinese characters to Roman letters). As a consequence, I have found a way to work around and totally cheat for today's letter, hence "heXagons."

Hexagons are a very popular geometric motif, and the six-sided shape can be found as part of many larger designs. 

Obi with kiku, hanabishi and hexagons.

Kimono with kiku and hexagons.
I've used both of these as examples earlier in the month, but both do show off very well how different components can be brought together to make interesting and cohesive designs. Sometimes, this can make it a little difficult to figure out what might pair best with a garment, and that is when color and occasion for wear can come into play.

Both of the above examples show hexagons as part of a broader design, but they can appear all on their own, too!

Asa(?) motif on lattice yukata with hexagon obi.
The yukata above was one of my more interesting finds from ebay, and the photo offers us a double dose of hexagons! Not only do we have relatively plain hexagons on the obi, but the latticework pattern on the yukata creates hexagons as well. To me, the leaf motif on the yukata is far louder than the latticework, so using hexagons in the obi makes for a fun and subtle visual play.

The patterning in the obi above is made up only of concentric lines, unlike the hexagons with central flowers in my first two examples. This more 'pure' form of a hexagon might also be referred to as 'kikko' or tortoise-shell. Since the hexagons themselves are the main pattern, not a component of a larger design, it works well as a complimentary obi for a number of yukata in my collection.

We're getting down to the last two days of the A-to-Z challenge. I've enjoyed all of the comments that have been shared so far and hope that those of you who discovered this blog through the challenge will continue to read along as I work towards a regular posting schedule.

Tomorrow, we'll be having a look at one of my all-time favorite motifs: Yabane (Arrow Fletching)


  1. I like hexagon designs. You picked some pretty ones for your pictures.

    Weekends in Maine

    1. Thank you! I'm realizing that I'm quite fond of them myself, though it took doing this post to realize just how many I had in my collection!